Criticizing their Critics

In fundamentalist circles there is no greater crime than publicly declaring that there is a problem in fundamentalist circles. Indeed it is far worse to notice that there are problems than to actually be part of the problem. Anyone who aspires to be a naysayer will labeled with the most heinous of descriptors known to fundamentalism: “having a critical spirit.”

The critical spirit (and its cousin “evil questioning”) often shows up in the text of pastoral rants against those who would ask questions such as “If we really had 300 people saved last year, why did our membership only grow because of the two people who came here from the Baptist church down the road?” It’s better to just say “amen!” when the stats are read and not think about it too hard.

Whether it’s poor exegesis, pitiful orthopraxy, or just plain wrong-headed thinking in your church, the fundamentalist solution is simply to ignore it hope it will go away on its own before anybody gets the courage to admit they noticed.  Go thou and do likewise.  And whatever you do, don’t start a vaguely humorous, often long-winded blog to talk about these issues. They’ll just call you bitter and spiteful too.

18 thoughts on “Criticizing their Critics”

  1. Ironically, this disdain for criticism does not apply to those “heathens” in other churches, and worse – denominations.

  2. Great post. Wear your labels like medals of honor. 🙂 Some have earned their doctorates for far less. Don’t forget that you have an “unteachable spirit” i.e. the spin doctor cannot convince you that your analysis is wrong as well as being “hyper-critical” i.e. the spin doctor cannot figure out what you are saying. 😉

  3. My favorite is that of being labeled as “bitter”. Or, if the naked emperor wants to sound spiritual, being accused of being in “the gall of bitterness”.

  4. Funny about the “300 people saved” last year. That is so true, although actually, the problem in that lies w/ the “easy” (sometimes pressured) decisions, and lack of true discipleship (but I’m getting off on another subject here.)

  5. Don’t forget that a handful of those “300 people saved” last year will no doubt be the youth group kids getting “reassurance” a couple times…

  6. The first group I belonged to after I became a believer used to tell me, “You’re just being contentious!” when I asked a question (usually about how a verse’s context seemed to contradict their interpretation of the verse). Would it surprise anyone to learn that they were a cult?

  7. *LAUGH*

    This one inspired me to post! How many times can one person be called, “bitter”? So funny! It’s the IFB label. I suppose it is *supposed* to mean something to the person getting dogged on, but they don’t realize that that only validates the entire “cult lingo” aspect of the group. It’s their loaded language. Part of their core.

    Even our lawyer (who has heard this now like 1,000 times) has said, “What the H is this stuff about ‘being bitter’? What does *THAT* have to do with anything”? HAHA! We’ve just told him, “Don’t you know? That is the basis for them to discount every word a person says.” [obvious sarcasm] Needless to say, his head is still shaking.

    I’ve been checking out this site recently and I appreciate that you have taken TOUGH topics of this group and found so much humor in it. It is true, you either laugh or cry when you come out of something like this. And many times, you *just have* to laugh.;)

    Thanks for lightening up our lives and still having the courage to say the hard truth.

  8. *chuckle* Isn’t it funny how people *outside* the IFB say that about you/me/us and even see that what is being said **needs** to be said … yet those *inside* the IFB think you/me/us are the “evil ones”?;)

  9. Well, the next step after accusing you of “having a critical spirit” is assuming that you’re not even saved. Dare to disagree and they’ll discredit you with that attack. “Surely someone that bitter can’t have the Spirit of God.” Of course, this could have gone under the thread “upping the ante” too. “Disagree with me on Christian music or pants on women or th KJV? You’re probably not even saved.”

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